BMI Screening in Mass Schools

  • posted by Marci Anderson Evans
  • Sunday, May 17, 2009

So it’s been over a month since The Boston Globe published an article“BMI screening will begin this fall in Mass. schools.” This topic has weighed heavily on my mind (yikes, no pun intended) but I still seem to be combing through all of my thoughts on the topic.

The article states that starting this fall public schools will begin weighing and measuring 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th graders (parents can opt out) as a means to screen for overweight and obesity. The results, along with a report on how to deal with a child’s weight problem will be sent home to the parents. As I type, my blood is beginning to boil.

Here are a couple of thoughts:
1.) America has a pretty poor track record. As we’ve become more weight obsessed over the past several decades, the number of people that are overweight and obese has continued to climb.
2.) Research has shown that obesity prevention programs targeted to elementary and middle school children increased disordered eating behaviors.
3.) There is no utility in sending home a report card to a parent that says “your child is fat and at increased risk for Type II diabetes.” The article states that one of the recommendations for parents with overweight kids is to take them to their pediatrician. No offense to any pediatricians out there but I cannot help but laugh. I’d love to meet a physician that has the skills and more than 10 minutes solve their patient’s “weight problem.”

So rather than sending our children home with a report card, why don’t we start taking action that focuses on behaviors, not numbers. There is plenty of research to show that this is effective. Here are some ideas:
1.) Have students track the number of minutes they spend per day engaging in physical activity. And by all means, let’s stop cutting out recess and gym classes.
2.) Create a school garden. It will teach our children where food comes from, how to take stewardship over the earth, and supplement the pathetic meals they are served at school with more fruits and vegetables.
3.) Partner with local farms to facilitate work in exchange for reduced or free crops for low-income families.
There are a myriad of ways to promote healthy living. Sending report cards home is not one of them. With a Department of Health staffed with intelligent and capable people, I’d like to think we can do better than that. (Sorry for the rant, I do try to keep them to a minimum.)

If you liked this post, you might also like one of these recent posts:

  1. Tips for Thanksgiving Marci Anderson Evans 4 hours 22 mins ago
  2. Lazy Girls Week of Healthy Eating (a la Trader Joe's) Marci Anderson Evans 08-Nov-2015
  3. Give Myself Permission to Eat All Foods? Yes! Here's How Marci Anderson Evans 29-Oct-2015
  4. My Favorite Fall Breakfast Marci Anderson Evans 14-Oct-2015
  5. Fall Products I Love & Hate Marci Anderson Evans 02-Oct-2015
  6. Big Butts, Burgers, & Weight Stigma Marci Anderson Evans 23-Sep-2015
  7. Snacking Smarts Marci Anderson Evans 08-Sep-2015
  8. Product Showcase: Fairlife Marci Anderson Evans 07-Aug-2015
  9. Solutions for Summer Social Eating Marci Anderson Evans 24-Jul-2015
  10. Food Values Save You From Our Crazy Food Culture Marci Anderson Evans 02-Jul-2015
Liz commented on 20-May-2009 04:39 PM
I imagine that most parents know whether they child is overweight or not, just by looking at them. It seems crazy that the state of Massachusetts is going to spend time and money on something so pointless (but I suppose that is something that governments do best...) I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestions to focus on proper eating behaviors. Overweight kids are likely not getting that at home, so at least they could learn things like that at school!

Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Related posts:

Welcome to my Blog!

Thursday, February 12, 2009
Welcome to the Marci RD Nutrition Consulting blog site.  My goal is to help you find stress-free and balanced solutions to a healthier life.  I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have your health, you cannot fully embrace and enjoy all that life has to offer.  So, the purpose of this blog is to provide you with information, tips, and suggestions to help you find your own way to a balanced healthy life.  As a registered dietitian I have a background in nutrition but I also...

Part II: What to Buy (Nutrition)

Saturday, March 07, 2009
Last week I introduced the topic of grocery shopping. I covered the first part (preparation) in a five-part series. Today I’d to talk a little bit about nutrition. Nutrition is a very controversial topic. Why? Because the science behind it is complicated! Case in point: fat. You’ve likely heard a litany of recommendations on fat intake; eat a low fat diet for heart health, decrease your saturated fat, avoid trans fat like the plague, increase your monounsaturated fats, decrease belly fat ...

The Feeding Relationship: Parents & Children

Saturday, March 14, 2009
I just got back from serving on a health panel at my church here in Cambridge.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking about my topic of choice (food and nutrition) for two hours.  While there was a wide variety of questions that I addressed, a common theme focused on the feeding relationship between parents and children.  While my practice focuses primarily on adult nutrition, I have been amazed to see how our grown-up feelings, attitudes, and behaviors about food stem from our interact...

Spring Cleaning

Thursday, March 19, 2009
If you are like me, all of your well-intentioned New Year's resolutions have somehow drifted into the background.  Spring is a fabulous time to re-visit those goals or clean up an area of your life that needs a little dusting off.  Here are four simple tips to cleaning out your kitchen and ramping up your efforts for healthier (and might I add tastier) home cooking. 1.) Pull everything out of your refrigerator and freezer.  Chuck any "unidentifiable objects" and...